Big Brother winner Reggie Bird could end up homeless
BACK in 2003 she won the third season of Big Brother Australia, pocketing $250,000 for her win - but Reggie Bird's life has been far from easy since then.
Legally blind and caring for two young children - one of whom has cystic fibrosis - Bird has now been hit with a new challenge: The threat of homelessness.
The reality star made the heartbreaking confession in a new interview with Woman's Day magazine.
"I'm so scared. One day your kids are cuddled up and warm and safe and just like that, it could all be gone. I owe my kids a warm bed and a safe house, that's not too much to ask, is it?" she said.
Bird, 43, has been living on the property for five years with children Mia, 10 and Lucas, 7, but recently received an eviction notice after an ongoing dispute with the landlord.
"It's hard to believe I became known as the girl who survived multiple evictions in the Big Brother house, to 14 years later be faced with the real thing," she said.
"I've been having nightmares ever since, wondering where we're going to go."
Many other Big Brother contestants - including the runner-up from Bird's season, Chrissie Swan - parlayed their 15 minutes of reality TV fame into successful and lucrative media careers.
But Bird quickly fell on hard times, diagnosed with the degenerative eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa when she was 29. The condition has been robbing her of her eyesight ever since.
"It's like tunnel vision, it's like looking through a pinhole," she told A Current Affair in 2014.
The former fish and chip shop owner from Tasmania said she spent her winnings paying off her ex-husband's $100,000 mortgage, only for their marriage to end when he had an affair shortly after she left the Big Brother house.
She also lost $40,000 to a conman who promised her her own TV show.
"Then I paid $20,000 in advance on my rent in Sydney and I was only in the unit for two months because that guy became a stalker psycho, so then I had to move out and the real estate wouldn't give me my money back," she said.
Bird now works part-time in a charity call centre to make ends meet while caring for her children. A spokesman for the estate agent that manages the property she's being evicted on told Woman's Day he was "confident" he could help Bird find new accommodation.